Trump to direct federal agencies to move into ‘Opportunity Zones’

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Monday will order federal agencies to prioritize moving their offices to Opportunity Zones to spur investment in some of the nation’s poorest neighborhoods, The Post has learned.

The move will apply to all federal agencies and asks that they stop prioritizing city centers and central business districts and instead base themselves in any of the 8,769 low-income communities designated as Opportunity Zones by the Trump administration.

The initiative has driven more than $75 billion in private investment into disadvantaged communities in the two years since it was created, according to a report released earlier Monday by the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

A senior White House official said the order would see immense federal resources poured into distressed communities and also drive down the high cost of locating government offices in expensive business districts.

“Today’s executive order that the president is signing will ask agencies to, in their determination of where they’re going to build and lease new offices, include opportunity zones in that competitive process,” he said.

Qualified Opportunity Zones encourage private investment in the country’s poorest neighborhoods by providing tax incentives for people who invest in businesses operating in those areas.

There are more than 8,800 low-income communities that have been designated Opportunity Zones by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The poverty rate in these communities is at least 20 percent.

Ajit Matthew George, 66, is the founder of Second Chances Farm in Wilmington, Del., a hydroponic indoor farm where formally incarcerated individuals are given mentorship and re-entry programs and the chance of decent work with health care benefits.

He said the social enterprise that began in the hard-hit community in 2019 was made possible by investors looking to defer their taxes and make a difference.

“We are in one of the most distressed opportunity zones in Delaware,” George told The Post.

“It’s a community that everyone has forgotten. It’s poor. There are no grocery stores. There’s no business and frankly, it’s been forgotten. But by us being there, we’re giving hope. That is what we also do,” he said.

“We’re there providing jobs, we work seven days a week, we are instead of an abandoned building or an empty building, full of life. The neighborhood appreciates the fact that we are there and committed to that neighborhood,” he said.

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